Toronto GTA, Ontario, Canada. Recovering data remotely is a service presently being offered by several of the larger data recovery companies. It sounds so convenient, no shipping, no computer disassembly, no risk, just call someone up and they remotely connect to my computer, and “poof” my data is restored. If only it were so simple. In reality it’s much more of a marketing ploy then a realistic recovery option. The complexities and dangers of offering remote service seem to counter the very pillars of data safety.
First you must consider that for a remote data recovery service to be successful the hard drive must be functioning properly; otherwise there is a serious risk of causing further damage. If the drive has physical problems and is beginning to fail, there may only a short window before the damage becomes insurmountable. As every data recovery company will advise, if the data is important, shut it off immediately and do nothing. So unless you’re knowledgeable enough to determine the condition of your hard drive or you don’t mind a 50/50 chance of doing further damage you may want to reconsider a remote data recovery service.
Furthermore, this service requires the user to have some technical computer skills as the original hard drive must be removed and installed in a second web attached computer along with possibly an additional hard drive to copy the recovered data to. Some assistance will also be required to setup and establish the remote link. And while some users may feel comfortable with these tasks, the real concern is with the increased risk of causing further damage whether due to physical handling, static shock, or the unintended running of automatic drive utilities like chkdsk.
It is our policy and that of most other professional data recovery services to create an exact image or mirror of the original drive. The original drive is then put away for safe keeping, while any alterations to the file system structures or running of utilities are completed on a copy of the copy. In a remote data recovery situation, you do not have the luxury of having a backup copy in case things go wrong.
We also see many cases of apparent file structure damage where the storage device or hard drive initially appears to be operating fine but as we attempt to image it we discover read errors or the drive starts failing in some other way. In instances like this there is a strong chance the file structure damage was actually caused by the physical issue. Attempting to recover data from a drive like this will just aggravate the situation and risk further damage to the storage device or filesystem.
In my past life, I worked for one of the larger data recovery companies that considered offering a remote recovery option. At the time we had multiple lab locations across the USA and we were already using remote connections to share the data recovery expertise spread throughout our different labs. Our more senior data recovery engineers essentially used remote access to evaluate and direct a more junior tech in how to proceed with a difficult data recovery. Prior to us offering the service to the general public, we investigated our competitors offering by conducting a secret shopper campaign where we attempted to engage their remote data recovery services. Surprisingly, we were repeatedly met with opposition when we requested a remote recovery. They tried to sell us data recovery software, followed by in-lab service before reluctantly agreeing to only attempt a remote recovery IF we approved a minimum of $1500 for the recovery if successful. And this was without ever looking at the media. It’s readily apparent that the entire concept was being used to get you to call them so they could then attempt to try and talk you into shipping the case to their lab.
Remote data recovery has most of same limitations and capabilities as that of a good data recovery software program. The drive must be functional and it must be connected to a working computer system. In many situations a data recovery program will perform as good as a remote recovery service. In fact, the remote recovery tech is more then likely going to be running utilities as part of the effort to salvage your data. So why pay for someone to hook up remotely and run utilities on your system. You can do that yourself and with less complications and time wasted establishing a safe connection.
There are a few occasions where remote data recovery does makes sense, where due to the isolation of the location there is no other option, but for those cases that can be delivered to a full service data recovery lab you would be very unwise not to take advantage of the hands on experience of a data recovery specialist. http://memofixdatarecovery.com/ … David Foster